THE KINDNESS OF SCIENCE

This poem first appeared in my personal blog, and was very well received. I was then asked to read it on CBC’s Daybreak Montreal.

It has been the longest year…For months, it’s been as though COVID-19 were creating days that went on forever; a sense of longing for others that couldn’t be satiated; a fearfulness that was bone deep; and the growing dissent among us, over such basic issues as wearing a mask–to protect one’s self and others.

But I have experienced mostly the opposite: A closeness in our family that is magnified by love and need; and an awakening of thousands and perhaps millions of us to the heroic efforts of medical practitioners and scientists, all over the world, who have worked together in small groups and large collaborative efforts, sharing their scientific data and their expertise, thereby accelerating the production of vaccines that will (and already have, as I write) save us.

And there was, finally. Michael Rosen’s book, Many Different Kinds of Love, which had a perspective-altering effect on me, and helped me to realize exactly what being infected by COVID-19 meant not only to the individual person, but what it meant to healers, researchers and caregivers everywhere.

It helped me to feel enormous gratitude for the ties that bind us.

April 2021

Upon beginning the second year of the pandemic,

**

I am moved by the kindness of science  

Of

The biologists

The epidemiologists

The virologists

The evolutionary biologists

The structural chemists

care physicians and nurses

The reassigned medical and para-medical professionals—psychiatrists, speech therapists, and others

respiratory therapists who helped us to breathe

though many of us never found our breath again

occupational and physiotherapists

who helped our bodies remember how to move

and taught us to move differently in the aftermath

**

The aids, attendants and orderlies

Who keep everything moving in hospitals

From the supply rooms and the laundry

To the pharmacy and radiology

Delivering bags of I.V. solutions and medications

Those who accepted working extra shifts

Over and over

Treating us with compassion

The caregivers who spoke to us and for us

Saw past the ventilators

Saw the person in the comatose body

**

All those whose work is to help lighten the load

Taking on the responsibility of our suffering

Our fear

Our dependency

Our frailty

Our mortality

Resting their hopes on our resilience.

You will have saved us

You are science’s kindest face

You are passionate, committed, diligent

You collaborate across continents

Single-minded

You are hope

You are the biggest kind of Love.

ART:

  1. “La vaccination, circa 1923

Victor François Tardieu, oil on canvas

2. Illustration by Toni Um

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